May 21st, 2009


For years, Kevin had been asking us to come up to Riverdale to check out An Beal Bocht Cafe. An Beal Bocht, which is Gaelic for "the Poor Mouth," is a great neighborhood Irish bar in Riverdale. We had tried twice to get everybody motivated to make the trek up there, but things always had a way of petering out the day of. It's not like it was the first time we'd been to Da Bronx. I'd even made it up here once or twice meself. Patience finally paid off, though.

There's lots of ways to get there. David, Dan and I opted for the plush $5 BxM1 express bus—apparently, we are a little too noisy for the denizens of Riverdale? After a pleasant ride in rush hour traffic, we arrived at the top of the hill and made our way to the ABB.

Jim, also a Riverdalian, was already here and in fine form, as usual. There's nothing domestic on tap here, but respectable quaffs from the old world. I began with an Erdinger Weissbräu. This is a fine brew, from one of Bavaria's biggest breweries. Next up was a pint of Smithwick's (pronounced "smiddicks"), a fine Irish red ale from Kilkenny. Next, of course, was a pint o' Guinness, the archetypal dry stout (Gaelic: "Leann dubh"), and I'm sure there was at least another Smithwick's in there—not to mention the shot of Jägermeister. We were here for the craic (conversation) anyway.

Kevin joined us, as did friends of Jim and Dan. The usual B.S. ensued. (It always does!) We were ably served by the estimable Bronagh, who runs a tight ship here, but always with a smile. The food was good, if unspectacular. The "art" on the walls was interesting and the crowd a very diverse cross-section. All-in-all a fun place worth the pilgrimage!

Eventually, all good things come to an end. Jim and Kevin walked home and the rest of us stumbled down the hill. Bronx is famous for its stair streets, of which, West 238th Street is a good example. Just down the block from the ABB, the street ends at a stairway; at the bottom of the steps W. 238 picks up again. What makes it interesting is that there is an apartment building entrance mid-way down the stairway. A few short blocks later, we found ourselves on the 1 train, where we were treated to one of the finest views in all of New York City! The train ride back was long, but at $2, was certainly cheap.

Pour Mouths

Jim's Manpurse!

The An Beal Bocht at last!

BrewCam™: The view from the Number One